Single-use plastics ban takes effect

February 4, 2023 BY

Single-use plastics are now banned in Victoria. Photos: UNSPLASH

SINGLE-use plastics and polystyrene are now outlawed throughout Victoria after the state government’s landmark ban came into effect on Wednesday (February 1) this week.

The changes mean single-use plastic drinking straws, cutlery, plates, drink stirrers, cotton bud sticks and expanded polystyrene food and drink containers are banned from sale and supply in Victoria. The ban follows the statewide ban on plastic shopping bags implemented in 2019.

The government stated that since the ban was announced in February 2021, it had delivered $595,000 in grants to 15 pilot sites including catering businesses, universities and aged care facilities to help replace their single-use items with reusable alternatives.

“We are taking action to protect Victoria’s environment and reduce pollution by banning single-use plastic items and supporting businesses to switch to reusables instead,” Minister for Environment Ingrid Stitt said.

“Plastic pollution has significant impacts on our health, wildlife, and the environment. This single-use plastics ban is a crucial step to protect Victoria’s rivers, waterways and oceans from plastic pollution.”

The Andrews Government has set a 2030 deadline of diverting 80 per cent of waste from landfill by 2030 and is investing $515 million to transform the waste and recycling system.

Included in the transformation is Victoria’s shift to a standardised four-stream bin system to enable households to more easily sort their waste and recycling, and have access to a container deposit scheme for the return of used drink cans, bottles and cartons for recycling.

Government figures state single-use plastics make up a third of the state’s litter, can easily be avoided or replaced with reusable alternatives, and the reforms will lead to both environmental and financial savings in the long term.

A government spokesperson said the industry reforms have created thousands of new jobs in recycling and manufacturing, increased recycling capacity and found end products for the recycled material.

“Last year, the Government invested $1 million towards new technology that will turn hard-to-recycle materials like cartons and coffee cups into sustainable building products.”